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Cultural sector poised for a boost

By Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-12-22 17:14
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Shanghai authorities unveil 50 guidelines aimed at further developing the city's film, internet, art and publishing industries

Following China President Xi Jinping's call to boost the vitality of the domestic cultural and creative sector during the 19th CPC National Congress, Shanghai has released 50 guidelines and outlined strategic objectives aimed at achieving this goal.

The plan states that Shanghai will focus on further developing areas such as film and television, animation and games, internet culture, artwork trade, publishing, and creative design.

According to the municipal government, the added value of the cultural and creative industry should contribute to about 15 percent of Shanghai's annual GDP within the next five years and 18 percent by the end of 2030. By 2035, Shanghai is projected to become a global center for the cultural and creative industry.

Weng Tiehui, vice mayor of Shanghai, said that the guidelines have been made based on the city's achievements in the industry over the past few years. In 2016, the added value of the cultural and creative industry was in excess of 330 billion yuan ($50 billion), contributing to more than 12 percent of the city's GDP.

"An industry can be defined as a pillar industry once it contributes 6 percent to a city's GDP. The cultural and creative industry in Shanghai has already reached that benchmark," she said.

Weng added that the government has focused on the development of this industry because it has a knock-on effect on other sectors.

"The creative design sector, for example, covers industrial design, architecture, fashion and software. By developing the creative design sector, we can help to boost the growth of other industries like advanced manufacturing, modern services and strategic emerging industries," she explained.

According to the guidelines, a high-tech filming base would be set up in southwest Shanghai's Songjiang district while two professional e-sports venues capable of hosting world-class events would be introduced to the city. Measures will also be taken to boost Shanghai's digital post production scene and financing for the film industry.

Other objectives include adding eight new entertainment venues to Shanghai, turning the area around Tongji University into a hub for creative design, and setting up an international high-tech cultural equipment base.

Zhu Yonglei, deputy director of the city's publicity department, said that priority would be given to improving the quality of the existing cultural and creative projects.

He noted that there is room for growth in terms of the number of films. Although there were more than 16,000 commercial shows screened in theaters across Shanghai last year, Zhu said that this number is not nearly enough for a city of almost 24 million residents.

"Cultural and creative industry practitioners should create more products catered to consumers' demands to fully explore the city's potential in this regard," he said.

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